Google Flights: The Best Way to Start Your Airfare Search

Google Flights MapUntil you get into the points and miles game as we have been for several years, booking airfare can be one of the most significant expenses when planning a trip. Once in a while we still have to book flights with cash, and we have several tools and strategies for finding great deals and making the best use of our money.

Along with the Southwest website, Google Flights is always my first stop when searching for flights, and it should be yours too. Whenever people ask me to look for flights for them, we start here.

Harnessing their internet search expertise, Google Flights is a powerful search engine that helps users find and compare airfare prices from various airlines.

So we want to show you how to use this platform effectively to score the best deals on airfare and why you should use it as you plan your next trip.

Using Google Flights

To begin your airfare search, go to the Google Flights website. You can also download the Google Flights app on your mobile device, but I wouldn’t recommend doing this unless you fly often. The website is simple and works great on your phone.

Once you are there, you can enter your departure city, destination, travel dates, and other preferences to customize your search.

Google Flights DatesFlexible Date and Destination Options
One of the key features of Google Flights is its flexibility in searching for airfare deals. You can view prices for specific dates or use the flexible dates option to see prices for a range of dates, allowing you to find the cheapest travel options. Additionally, you can explore “Explore Destinations” to discover flight prices to various destinations based on your budget and interests.

One of my favourite features is its live pricing as you select your dates. When you open the calendar view, it gives you a general idea of the lowest price you can expect to pay on any given day of departure. Then, as you select your return date, it gives you the lowest price you can expect to pay for your entire trip, depending on the date you choose. So handy!

Price Tracking and Alerts
Google Flights offers price tracking and alerts to help you monitor airfare changes and receive notifications when prices drop or increase for your desired flights. After you select the airports, the dates, and the airline that you want to fly, simply enable price tracking for that specific flights or route, and Google Flights will notify you via email or push notification when prices change significantly.

Filter and Sort Options
To narrow down your search results, Google Flights provides various filter and sort options. You can filter by airline, number of stops, departure/arrival times, and more to find flights that meet your preferences and requirements. Sorting options allow you to prioritize results based on price, duration, departure time, or other factors.

Explore Map View
The map view feature in Google Flights allows users to visualize flight prices on a map, making it easier to compare prices for different destinations and airports. This feature is especially useful for travelers with flexible travel plans who are open to exploring new destinations based on price.

We don’t use this feature very often, but I have found it helpful a few times when we are going to a place that is somewhat central to two or more larger airports. This is especially true for destinations east of the Mississippi where large airports are not as spread out as they are out west. Also useful for international destinations in Europe.

Book Directly or through Partners
Once you’ve found a flight that meets your criteria and budget, you can choose to book directly through the airline’s website or through a third-party booking platform. Google Flights provides direct links and shows the prices to book flights with airlines or travel partners, streamlining the booking process and ensuring a seamless experience.

Google Flights Vs. Other Travel Portals

So why would we use Google Flights instead of other travel portals like Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, Kayak, etc.?

The main reason is just that Google Flights is a platform dedicated to flights, whereas the others are designed to help you also find hotels, rental cars, and even experiences. The other ones also help you find travel packages. But Google Flights is strictly flights, so it is free of the distractions of other platforms.

Google Flights is also extremely fast and doesn’t have all the ads that you find on the other web portals.

As mentioned above, when you are ready to book, Google Flights will give you links so that you can book with those other travel portals if you would like, but it’s much easier to find those flights on Google Flights first.

Google Flights also does a better job of providing the most comprehensive selection of flights. Sometimes other travel portals don’t provide all of the options available.

One thing to note is that Southwest does not allow Google Flights to display its flights. So we always still go to to compare their options to the results that we find on Google Flights. You should do the same because Southwest has an extensive flight network, they allow free checked bags, and their prices rival the other airlines (not to mention Southwest’s amazing Companion Pass which allows two people to fly for the price of one).


Google Flights is a valuable tool for travelers seeking to find the best deals on airfare and save money on their next trip. If you are not already using it, we suggest that you make it your new primary airfare search tool

By utilizing its flexible search options, price tracking features, and comprehensive filter and sort options, you can streamline the booking process and ensure you are finding the best prices.

But someday you will want to start booking more flights with points and miles because that is way more fun!

Do you have any airfare search tools that you like better than Google Flights? If so, why?

How to Save Up to 20% on Southwest Flights

Southwest AirplaneMost of our domestic travel is done with Southwest Airlines.

Living 18 minutes from Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, we have access to dozens of Southwest flights on a daily basis. The fares are really competitive with Delta (our favourite airline), but they also offer two free checked bags per person and open seating (you choose your seat when you board). Now that we travel as a family of four, these benefits of Southwest make it our top choice for most of our flights here in the US.

Thankfully, most of our travel on Southwest is booked with points. Someday I will explain more about how we do that, and you are welcome to send us a private message if you would like to find out sooner.

But for those of you who usually have to pay cash for flights, I wanted to write a quick post about how to do that at a discounted rate.

About the Deal

If you have a membership with Sam’s Club or Costco, you can periodically buy $500 Southwest gift cards from them for only $450.

If you don’t have a membership with either of these wholesale clubs, maybe you can ask a friend to get you a gift card with their membership 🙂

In fact, at the time of this posting (April 5, 2024), Sam’s Club is offering this exact deal:

That represents a 20% savings on a great airline!

We don’t have a Costco membership, so I don’t know how many of those gift cards you can buy at a time from them, but right now Sam’s Club has a maximum of 5 (which is a lot of travel).

Southwest also offers fare deals about once a month, so if you create a Rapid Rewards account with them and subscribe to their emails, you can find out when they happen.

These wholesale clubs might also offer discounts on other airline gift cards from time to time, but I have never seen them discounted as much as the Southwest gift cards.


Obviously, you need to do a little planning ahead to know whether or not you plan to fly Southwest for a specific trip, but when comparing airfare, we usually find Southwest to be one of the most inexpensive options, especially if you plan to bring checked bags with you.

Unless you are deep into the points and miles game like we are, this is a great way to save 20% on Southwest airfare when paying cash.

Did you know about this deal, and do you plan to take advantage of it sometime?

The One Travel Deal That Has Saved Us Thousands of Dollars

Disclosures: This article includes links to credit cards. If you choose to apply for a credit card through our links, we may or may not receive a referral bonus. Credit cards are not suitable for everyone, however. If you have credit card debt of any kind, are irresponsible with your past or current use of credit cards, are unaware of the risks of using credit cards, or are conscientiously opposed to the use of credit cards, please do not apply for the credit cards mentioned in this article. You are 100% responsible for your own choices regarding the use of any credit cards mentioned here.

As the price of airfare continues to rise because of increased travel demand, I have more and more people asking me how to book inexpensive flights.

Unfortunately, there is not an easy answer or one perfect solution for everyone. But for people flying in the US, there is one specific deal that has transformed our travel experience and saved us thousands of dollars.

Ever heard of the Southwest Companion Pass? This game-changing perk has revolutionized the way we travel, and right now, there’s an incredible offer available that makes earning the Companion Pass easier than ever before.

Southwest AirplaneBrief Overview of the Southwest Companion Pass

With the Southwest Companion Pass, you essentially get to bring a designated companion with you on all your Southwest flights for just the cost of taxes and fees (normally only $5.60 per one-way trip). It’s like getting a 2-for-1 deal every time you fly, which can lead to significant savings, especially for those who travel often or with a partner.

Here are some of the top reasons why we love the Southwest Companion Pass:

1. Double the Value: With the Companion Pass, you’re essentially doubling the value of your money. When you buy a ticket for yourself, you can add your designated companion for almost free, thus getting two tickets for the price of one. But it also applies to award flights booked with Southwest Rapid Rewards points! Instead of just redeeming points for yourself, you can use them to book flights for both you and your companion, effectively getting twice as much out of your rewards.

2. Flexible Travel: Unlike other airline perks that restrict you to certain flights or blackout dates, the Southwest Companion Pass is incredibly flexible. As long as there’s a seat available on a flight, you can book it for your companion, even if you’ve booked your own ticket using points or a promotional fare.

3. Maximize Savings: For couples or families like us who frequently travel together, the savings can add up quickly. Whether you’re jetting off on a weekend getaway or taking a longer vacation, having a companion fly with you for almost nothing can make travel much more affordable.

Overall, the Southwest Companion Pass is a game-changer for anyone who typically travels with someone else. It’s a valuable perk that can help you stretch your travel budget further and make exploring the world even more enjoyable. If you’re a frequent Southwest flyer, or even if you just fly once or twice a year and live near an airport serviced by Southwest, earning the Companion Pass should definitely be on your radar as a goal worth pursuing.

Limited-Time Offer: Earn Companion Pass through 2/28/25 + 30,000 Points

Southwest Airlines is currently offering an unbeatable promotion across all three of their personal credit cards – the Rapid Rewards Plus, Rapid Rewards Premier, and Rapid Rewards Priority cards.

With this offer, new cardholders can earn the Companion Pass and 30,000 Rapid Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Under the terms of this promotion, the Companion Pass would be valid through February 28, 2025.

Understanding the Southwest Credit Cards

Typically, the personal Southwest credit cards offer a signup bonus of 50,000 Rapid Rewards points, but they do not include the Companion Pass as part of the offer. In fact, you normally have to earn 135,000 Rapid Rewards Points within the same calendar year in order to qualify for the Companion Pass, making it a little more difficult to earn.

With the current promotion, however, new cardholders can enjoy the best of both worlds – almost a full year of Companion Pass privileges plus a nice points bonus. Now, you obviously have to complete the minimum spend requirement before you receive those perks, but if you’re looking to travel anytime this summer and into next winter, the timing could be perfect for you.

Here’s a brief overview of the three Southwest personal credit cards:

1. Rapid Rewards Plus: Ideal for occasional Southwest flyers with basic perks ($69 annual fee).
2. Rapid Rewards Premier: Perfect for moderate Southwest travelers seeking additional benefits and rewards ($99 annual fee).
3. Rapid Rewards Priority: Tailored for frequent Southwest flyers who want premium benefits and perks ($149 annual fee).

Our personal favourite is the third option, the Rapid Rewards Priority card, but that’s because we travel frequently enough to justify the annual fee. But each of these options has the same offer right now.

Our Companion Pass Experience

For the past seven years, we have been fortunate enough to enjoy the countless benefits of the Southwest Companion Pass. From weekend getaways to cross-country adventures, the Companion Pass has been our ticket to unlimited travel experiences at a fraction of the cost

Whether booking flights with cash or redeeming Rapid Rewards points, the Companion Pass has consistently provided us with unparalleled savings and flexibility. Because we have also earned so many Southwest points and booked award flights with them, about half of our flights have only cost us $22.40 total for the family ($11.20 in taxes and fees per adult on award tickets), making travel more accessible and affordable than ever before.

With the current offer available across Southwest’s personal credit cards, there has never been a better time to earn the Companion Pass and unlock unlimited adventures.

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to save some money on your upcoming flights!

Does this offer appeal to you or someone you know?